By Duane Vandenbusche
The little ranching community on Tomichi Creek preceded the great mining boom in the Gunnison country. Doyleville, located near the mouth of both Hot Springs and Razor Creeks, began in 1876 when 52-year-old Henry Doyle of northern Michigan, his wife and two youngest sons, crossed Marshall Pass and entered the Tomichi Valley. He settled next to the S.W. Davidson family, who had a dairy farm, as did Doyle.
Taking advantage of the 1862 Homestead Act signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, Doyle acquired 160 acres for $1.25 an acre. He lived in a tent that first summer.
When the Gunnison country mining boom began in 1879, Doyleville became a stop for Barlow and Sanderson stages and for the many freighters en route to Gunnison and nearby silver camps.
Jesse and Frank James came to Doyleville in the 1870s and worked on the Coats ranch, where they hid from the law. Mrs. Coats was a relative of the James boys. Ike Thompson had known Jesse and Frank in Missouri. Jesse drew him aside. “Hello Ike, my name is Brown here. You understand?”